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Author Topic: Spirit, and relief  (Read 4218 times)

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Offline Moffie65

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  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Spirit, and relief
« on: November 18, 2008, 09:23:57 AM »
For reasons of my own, namely growing up in a boarding school, I have suffered chronic depression for most of my life.  When you take a child away from their family and place them into a structured living atmosphere such as a boarding school; it seems depression is just a thought away for most of your young life.

Thanks to Joe, we now have a thread that exquisitely explains the nightmare that is depression.  I have watched HIV+’s now for almost 30 years, and to expect anyone who is positive to escape the onset of depression is to expect the impossible.  I know there are a few who have mastered living with this disease with a certain quality that mostly escapes the bulk of our population.  Somehow, I also think that intellect impacts whether or not you might be susceptible to becoming depressed.  I cannot back that up with any studies, but it has been an observation of mine as a fan of watching the human condition.

I think that we are mainly hit all the time with negative thoughts in relation to HIV and therefore it becomes a full time battle to keep ourselves above water and keep us from drowning in the sea of negative details connected with HIV infection and living.  One thing we need to remember is that expectations will be the death of us if we let them go unchecked.  There are no expected levels of action, or living when it comes to our society and HIV, other than expulsion from the day to day “normal” that is expected of everyone in the society.  We are NOT normal, and we never will be again, so it is up to us to create a life that is void of expectation because the bug will change all plans at any moment.  To place expectations on ourselves without reason, is to invite depression very quickly because most of the time we either don’t have the energy to complete anything we “expect” to do, or else we don’t finish it in the time span that we create for ourselves.  If you are thinking that WE create our own depression, I think you just might be on the right track.  If that is correct; then I have to say we can and should be very much a part of eliminating it from our lives.  Learning new ways to live is the answer, but doing that is a huge challenge, especially when you interject all the added details of “Living with HIV”.

Since becoming HIV+, I have fought and struggled to stay on top of this disease, (depression) and fill my life with mastery of my worst enemy.  What follows is an explanation of some of the ways that have proven to work for me, and when I remember to not think in a negative mode, these are things which anyone can do to keep an even keel. 

In recent months, I have been observing this culture and have noticed that everyone to a person is striving.  We seek to be the best person we can be, while not particularly bringing ill gotten attention to ourselves.  The keeps us in a silent sort of state, not unlike a coma, every time we walk through the door of a supermarket, or other business with a large population of people at any given hour.  We choose this state, to keep us comfortable in our own skin.  This attitude I feel, is connected to our constant striving to keep ourselves ensconced safely from the people we must live and deal with from day to day.  The assumed coma isolates us to keep us from being hurt or having to deal with others we don’t necessarily want to interact with, ever. 

We create our own home atmosphere, whether it is a nice large home in a housing development, or planned community, or a manufactured home, mobile home, apartment or a camper sitting in the woods.  We make ourselves comfortable in our own way, and this gives us a sanctuary to retire to on a regular basis.  We strive to make our lives as personally comfortable as is possible within our means. 

Employment is another theater in which striving is almost the mantra for exquisite capitalism.  We strive to do the best we can on the job, to keep the company solvent, so we won’t loose enough market share that we would have to be let go.  We strive to get along with our coworkers, and most times, this requires a rather large sacrifice of the private time we all need to re-generate each and every day.  Seldom does a corporation strive to keep the employees healthy and happy, because the age of greed has taken over the market place.  Those corporations like Eastman Kodak, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and a few others have long known that if you take care of your employees, there is nothing else you have to do to care for the bottom line.  You see, it is very simple; if you take care of your employees, then they will care for the product, customer and in the end, profits.

The most astounding of those who are striving are the vast majority of the populace, who don’t even know what they are striving for.  Their striving varies from day to day, depending on what is cool that day in the newspaper, on the net, on the tube or what the neighbor said the night before.  This is probably the most amusing, sad and confusing part of the society.  It seems that no matter what food they eat, what cell phone they have, what computer they have parked on their desk, the kind and color of that necessary new car or in fact anything in their lives; they are never happy and never accomplished.  This goes for everyone in all parts of the economic spectrum. 

The key to unraveling this unending pursuit for personal happiness and contentment in our lives, seems on the surface to be unreachable and when we look around at the people we know, seldom are any of them living in perfect personal peace.  We are still probably the wealthiest country on the planet, but that station when figured per capita, is falling rapidly.  Still, just how many people do you know who bring peace to the room when they step in?  Not many I would guess.  The key to finding our solution evidently lies in this very silent and relatively unknown subpopulation amidst us.  We first of all should look at our churches, because they alone have consistently given us the idea that they in fact were the keepers of this personal peace formula.  Yet when I look at the ministers, I have to ask myself first and foremost, did this person bring peace to the room when they came in?  99% of the time, I have to say they didn’t.  I look at the congregations of most churches and starting in the parking lot, I can start to identify all the “strivers” simply by counting all the Hummers and other excessive vehicles.  Gee, what would Jesus drive?

OK, that didn’t work.  We look for other groups to give us that personal peace we are striving for, and we are left bereft of any choices to go to.  This leaves us with ourselves.  Whew, that isn’t very pleasant because then we have to withdraw into ourselves and seek out our own peace.  I guess we have to realize at this point that if your belief system embraces atheism, then I will probably loose you.  What follows is not about Christianity, nor any other type of religion, but simply about our Spirit side that must be recognized.

We now must recognize that we are in fact both physical bodies, intertwined with spirit.  Few in the world argue this point, due to the nature of man throughout history.  If in fact this is true; then we must accept that throughout our lives, not only have our physical bodies been striving, but also our conscious minds and our spirits. 

We spend huge amounts of time attempting to embrace our spirit, and often this is revealed in our church attendance, Bible study, meditation and many other physical ways of expression.  Having been raised in the evangelical part of our indigenous religions; I learned early on that these physical outpourings of the “exercise” of faith and spirit seldom went any further than skin deep.  I watched as a Bible beating Pentecostal woman, who says that the Iraq war was “sanctioned by God above”, struggled to get into the Whitehouse.  Surely I am not to believe that this is what Jesus would do!

What the 1425 words above leave out completely is that undeniable connection that we are not only body but also spirit.  Our spirits have accompanied us throughout our lives, taking note all the while of the number of times we have ignored spirit when making decisions along the way.  In our first example above, next time you go to the market, become conscious of spirit, and soon enough you will start looking and seeing the faces of those hordes of strangers you inevitably encounter.  Smile at people, and be present in your space, give your spirit reign over the moment and just see the difference that the chore of marketing becomes.  All of the examples above can be treated the same way, including going to work on Monday and exclaiming what a beautiful day it is.  Your co-workers will resist only so long and soon enough they will come around and become friendlier to you because you bring peace and happiness to the room.

I wrote this to help each one of us to re-connect with spirit, and be constantly aware that our access to spirit is anytime, and anywhere.  Spirit is strong, and will bring things into our lives that we only previously dreamed of.  It is so very simple; you must always remember that you are the child of God/ess, and your connection is always open.  The signal never fades, and you are part of God for the whole of your life. 

Accepting the above paragraph requires you to examine your internal conversation and completely flush all of it that takes you away from spirit, and let spirit take control of your life. 

Many of us are what I would call control freaks, and make every effort to plan out our lives on an hourly basis.  Whilst I admit, we all need schedules to a point because memory is assisted this way; still there must be a certain spontaneity to our lives to allow spirit to work.  If we are so busy that we cannot allow things to come to us, then we will continue to strive for that peace which we already own, but keep closeted up. 

Recently I have returned to sewing to bolster my income.  I enjoy making clothing and other things which people like to buy, and I like to wear.  I got out my sewing machine which was a gift from my partner in 1995, and has served me well for these many years.  I started out on an art piece and the machine was not working well at all, so I took it in to the shop for repair, which lasted for two whole months and they didn’t fix it at all.  I was totally given over to defeat, when I walked into the local quilting store and found they had fine machines for reasonable prices.  Now I am torn.  They also have a man that fixes machines, and so I decided to let them try fixing it.  The man unexpectedly shows up and fixes it while I wait.  I play with some of the machines on display and find that I could probably replace my workhorse with a new model.  I could not decide that day, as I never spontaneously spend large sums of money without a night to think about it, and the decision.  I researched all the makes of machines on the net and find their prices are either in line with the market, or slightly lower.  Over the weekend, my partner suggested that I look on Overstock.com, which I did.  I then found so many very good deals that I left the computer, closed it down and left it for spirit to decide.  The next morning, my sweetie was looking over the prices and we both focused on a machine that sold for $500 retail, but was listed on their site for $139.  My partner said, “Why don’t you buy this one, just to have a spare one and to give you more versatility with your art”.  I guess I took this as a sign from spirit to loose my fiscal tightness and just go ahead and buy it.  I did, and it now arrived and I find it a priceless tool in the intricate type of sewing I do.   This might be an example of good shopping, but I choose to believe that it was a decision which included spirit, so therefore I feel no anxiety about the purchase, nor do I feel joy or anything else emotional, just the peace that this experience was supposed to be.

In the end, striving obliterates the efforts of spirit, and keeps us all wound up in physical self.  On the other hand, striving for spirit, or spirituality, is also a blocking action, because in the end, any striving for spirituality necessitates the need for the setting of expectations.  This ultimately nullifies anything we would recognize as spirit action because the expectations predestine outcomes.  We have to remember that Spirit is an intricate part of ourselves and is always there, but waiting on us to let its energy work for us, because we must allow this action, not create it.  Spirit needs a free reign without our interference.  We only need to let spirit know what our needs are and they will be taken care of.  This of course is only possible if we make the first step, not unlike the African belief that; “If you ask God for a fall harvest, you must say amen with a hoe in your hand”.  Spirit needs the energy from us to allow us to receive the outcome. 

This has always worked for me, but allowing myself to become un-centered in Spirit has repeatedly led to bouts of deep depression.  Living a centered life is a daily occurrence, so it is vital that we exercise some energy each day to keep our focus on allowing Spirit to work in our lives.


Thanks for reading.

The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Life

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  • Posts: 2,388
  • Member 2005
Re: Spirit, and relief
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2008, 03:51:16 PM »
Tim,  everytime you enter a room,  I feel a bit more at peace with myself.   Your words are from a unique perspective (experience) and that helps all of us pick more successful roads & better traveled paths in my mind.   I have read a peice you wrote awhile back on "Spirit".   I printed it out and allowed Will to read it.   Now each time I slip up, or question myself, I am brought back to the painful reality that I have heard successful solutions before...  Many of them are yours Tim...

I will add this post to my file on successful living with depression, and of course, my life coach will continue to remind me when I fuck up and go the wrong way...  Our talks together seem to be simple.  "Eric if you dont like the way you feel, well stop feeling that way."   "Stop going down that road, you have already exhausted this avenue."   These two sentences keep me genuinly happier.

Love ya Honey,

Eric

Offline maddalfred

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  • Posts: 128
  • Self Portrait
Re: Spirit, and relief
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2008, 06:33:05 PM »
Thanks, Tim. I needed that.

Rex
<img src=http://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj56/maddalfred1959/Me.jpg>

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: Spirit, and relief
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2008, 12:13:20 PM »
Just wanted to say that I have very much enjoyed a slow, peaceful and fulfilling holiday season, mainly because I had no expectations for Christmas, no expectations for the new year, and because I have been able to keep Spirit first and foremost. 

World AIDS Day was one that presented more than one trap to become hopelessly involved in a downward spiral, but I resisted the temptation to fall into that spiral, and just left things for the universe to take care of.  Thankfully, I think I am finally learning how to deal with an unexpected life of chaos, usually created outside of ourselves.

In re-reading this first post, I find it is far too long, but really does lay out a good plan for most of us to stick to in our search for internal peace and quiet.

P.S.  I cannot edit the OP, so I just wanted to add that when I spoke of depression being tied to "intellect", I was referring to a "higher than average intellect", which was not clear in the specific original wording. 
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline lonewolf

  • Member
  • Posts: 96
Re: Spirit, and relief
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2009, 10:51:40 AM »
Tim, thank you for your "spirit filled" wisdom.  Each time I read  of what you write, your life experiences, and genuine love and concern  is always what I and know, so many others need .

Have fun with that new machine,  so glad your  able to use another one of your so many talents this new year.

Hugs, Bruce
"To all within the sound of my voice, I appeal: Learn with me the lessons of history and of grace, so my children will not be afraid to say the word “AIDS” when I am gone. Then, their children and yours may not need to whisper it at all."  Mary Fisher

Offline shahshah

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  • Posts: 1
Re: Spirit, and relief
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2009, 04:19:27 AM »
My Goodess

This is so beautiful! Not only people with AIDs but anyone alive.

It says everything ... as wise  a piece of writing as I have ever read.

Thank you

Shahshah

Offline mjmel

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  • Posts: 2,069
A case of eloquent writing
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2009, 06:51:32 PM »
My Goodness, again!

Mike

Offline Moffie65

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  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: Spirit, and relief
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2009, 06:35:57 PM »
I guess it's time for an update, since I have been absent from here for some time.

I have been enjoying HIV/AIDS Activism retirement for about a year now, and to be sure, it has been sort of liberating.  I have been busy working around the acre, and doing some projects that have been long overdue.  Spirit is still in control of my life, and has proven so many times since this was presented here.  I continue to remain in awe of just how powerful a life we are capable of when we get our egos out of play and instead just live in peace, and harmony with our suroundings. 

It is with a feeling of great humility that I read the new posts to this thread, and I am so very grateful that many of you have found this thread to be helpful.  Thank you all for letting me know.

In  TRUE Peace and Love.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Rev. Moon

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,782
  • Smart ass faggot ©
Re: Spirit, and relief
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2009, 09:37:29 PM »
Tim, I am very grateful that you "bumped" this thread, especially today when I was starting to feel a bit cloudy.  Great essay, wonderful words to keep in mind when the world (and even those who we love/love us) brings us down from a high that we fight to maintain. 

Again, through the words of "stranger," I am enjoying the silence around me.

THANK YOU.

M.
"I have tried hard--but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else."

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: Spirit, and relief
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2009, 11:10:02 AM »
Wow, I can't believe that it has been a year since this thread was initiated, and yet it has helped me again in the present.  I find it interesting that my own words have helped me re-focus on the present, and all the issues I am dealing with right now.

Only yesterday, I was in conversation with an HIV/AIDS activist who works the halls of congress, and was so encouraged by his interest in the problems of HIV/AIDS in Arizona.  That, along with several other life changing issues are now dominating my present life, and I am still holding on to that connection with spirit which on a daily basis brings surprises to my life and our life as a couple.  Of course, I am nowhere in focus as much as my partner is, who is by any definition a true "Medicine Man" in the light of the true Native American sense.  No he is not a Native American, though he is positive he was in a prior life trip here.  I am also convinced.

I wanted to let you all know I am still here, still paying attention, and thought that with some of the more recent posts; this thread might help a few of you to see your lives in a little bit different light.

I hope it helps you and thanks for the responses.
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline MarcoPoz

  • Member
  • Posts: 395
Re: Spirit, and relief
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2009, 11:55:19 AM »
Nice 'bump'  ;)

I needed to hear that part about us 'striving'.  Depression can feel like one is running in chest deep water--the constant work on negative self talk--the constant stiving to do 'this or 'this' to keep moving and avoiding...

I'm re-learning the importance of 'nothing' and 'nowhere'...of just 'being' in a space in a time with no expectations and no interpretations.   

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: Spirit, and relief
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2009, 04:48:28 PM »
Thanks Marco,

I'm looking at age 63 next month, and I am wondering just when I will STOP having to "re-learn".  Your last sentence is a whole passel full of truth........    "re-learning the importance of 'nothing' and 'nowhere'...of just 'being' in a space in a time with no expectations and no interpretations. "    Thanks for that!
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

 


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